Paying for Buses in Mexico City: Options Explained

One of the best modes of transportation in Mexico City is the bus. If it’s your first time visiting Mexico City, you’ll find the place has an excellent bus system. As such, it’s common to see many people taking the bus, and so should you. However, you may wonder about how to pay for the buses.

For instance, you may wonder if you can pay in US dollars or only in Mexican pesos. Also, should you pay in cash, or can you pay through cards? With such concerns, we made this article to guide you on using buses in the city.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Paying for Buses in Mexico City Options Explained

How Do You Pay for the Bus in Mexico City?

The short answer is that it depends on the type of bus you’re riding. For instance, the typical buses running around the city accept cash payments. 

On the other hand, if you’re using the Metro Bus, you’ll need to buy a smart card and load it up at any of the stations before riding. Nonetheless, you’ll still need cash since the vending machines with the smartcards only accepts cash in local currency.

The Metro Bus

Mexico City’s MetroBus system was opened in 2005 and provided fast and cheap transportation. An alternative to a regular bus, it is considered a BRT system or a Bus Rapid Transit system. 

Two or three articulated, attached cars are attached to the busses that run along Paseo de la Reforma boulevard, but 130-passenger double-deckers are the most common on the boulevard.

Unlike other city buses, most MetroBus routes operate on dedicated lanes, so the buses can often be faster than cars. 

How to Use the Metro Bus?

Unlike other buses, the Metro Bus works the same as the Metro, which is the subway train in the city. So you can pay with the same smart card, and it’s pretty straightforward.

The only thing to note is that the Metro Bus Stations also get crowded quickly, especially during peak hours. As such, it’s always best to have your card ready at all times for more convenience. 

You need the card to get onto the platforms at the stations. You can hop on some buses first, but you’ll need to swipe your card later.

When using the Metro Bus, make sure you read the signage carefully. Some doors to these buses are exclusive for women, children, and PWDs. 

Once you’re inside the bus, you’ll notice pink-colored seats, and those are for women only. You can use the gray seats if you’re not a woman or a PWD.

Exit the bus as soon as it approaches your stop and follow the exit signs. When you exit, your card does not need to be used.

How to Get to the City Center from the Airport Using the Metro Bus?

If you’re planning to use the Metro Bus upon arrival at the airport going to the city center, it’s possible. Using Metro Card smart cards is the only way to make payments. 

You can purchase cards at machines inside the boarding areas of Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. Each ride departing from the airport costs 30 MXN per passenger.

To do so, head to line 4 of the Metro Bus, which will take you to the Centro Historico. If you’re coming from terminal 1, you can head to entrance 7 to find the bus. If you’re from Terminal 2, you can head outside the terminal to see these buses.

Passengers can board Entrance 7 at Airport Terminal 1 or Entrance 2 at Terminal 2. From the TAPO bus station, passengers can change to the Metro or take an intercity bus to another city from San Lázaro station.

From San Lázaro, passengers can also take Line 4 to Buenavista in the city center. In this city, metro lines 1 and 3 are regularly operated, as well as suburban trains. Service is available every day of the year, 365 days a year. The buses have wheelchair and luggage spaces, as well as security cameras.

Even with the price difference, you only pay one peso more than the Metro, and there’s no free transfer between Metrobús and the Metro. So the only thing you have is 2 hours to switch Metrobús lines. 

To learn other options for getting to the city center from the airport, read: How to Get from Mexico City Airport to City Center?

How Much Does a Bus Ride in Mexico City Cost?

The bus rides in Mexico City can cost around 6.50 MXN to 15.50 MXN, depending on the distance you’re traveling.

A fare of 6.50 is charged for distances between 0 and 12.8 km, and a fare of 15.50 is charged for distances between 12.9 and 25.6 km. At the turnstile, scan your card to deduct the proper fare upon entering and exiting the station.

The first thing to do is get a Metro card at any vending kiosk, which is around 15 MXN each without ride credits. Then you can use both modes of transportation as soon as you get a card and load it up with credit.

For access to the platform, tap your card on the turnstile after you have loaded your card. In MetroBus stations, you’ll find clean, modern facilities, and you won’t need to walk far to board your bus.

Check the station maps for directions and routes and the video monitors for bus arrival times. Ensure you’re heading in the right direction by checking the signs above the boarding doors. As soon as your bus arrives, prepare to board. 


In a nutshell, using buses in Mexico City is simple, easy, and convenient. As such, it’s always an excellent mode of transportation to use whenever you’re exploring the city. Moreover, with the bus system in the city, you can reach one destination from another without any problems. 

For the best ways to travel through the city, check out: Mexico City: Best Transport Options Revealed.

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